From Botswana I flew north to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa - home of ‘Lucy’, one of the world’s earliest and most infamous hominid. Addis is also home to approx. 7 million people (85 million in all of Ethiopia), the African Union headquarters and some good friends who recently moved there.
Whilst only a stopover on the way to West Africa to support the African Wildlife Foundation in further developing their giraffe (and elephant) conservation and management programme, it was great to have a look around the capital, see some sites and taste the local cuisine – injera, tibs and shiro wat (spelling aside...) is one great meal!
Interestingly, Ethiopia is also home to two poorly known giraffe populations. A herd of twenty or so remain in Omo National Park in the far south-west - a remote and at times hostile part of the country. The other population, which we know even less about and thought absent up until a survey a few years back, occurs in Gambella National Park, in the far west of Ethiopia. Anywhere between 60 and 90 giraffe have been observed by air but efforts are underway to find out more about these giraffe and other wildlife of the region. The NGO African Parks are in the initial stages of developing a partnership with the Ethiopian Government to provide support to the Gambella, and through Dr. JP Suraud an opportunity may arise to collaborate on some exciting giraffe research - watch this space and cross your fingers for more information sometime this year!